Tonight a couple will consumate their marriage. I know! I saw the limo pass the backpacker I stayed at. Tonight someone will fall asleep piss drunk under some bridge. Tonight, some couple will have a romantic evening. Some will celebrate their birthday. Tonight someone will sleep somewhere in a hidden back alley. Tonight someone will end up in the drunk tank! Tonight, someone will be brought to the hospital! Tonight, someone will die. And some, the “lucky” ones, will find a shelter. Tonight, the tooth fairy will come visit a kid with dreams.
Crosscare is such a shelter. Right beside a back packers with neon signs and openness. Crosscare seems insignifigant in comparrison. Dark! Unwelcome! Yet it says St. Mary beside it. Right across the street, there is a garda station. The enemy is facing the old and new scum; The drunks, the homeless, the petty thieves, junkies, pot smokers, people whom once had something, are now one step away from a cell. They have lost whatever little they had. Their own fault?
That is arguable. Many instances that led them to the end of the world. The voiceless! And this seem to be the last stop before ending in some grave somewhere. Forgotten. They were forgotten while being alive, so there is not much difference.
Crosscare has a buzzer. You’ll have to wait to get in. Get your details confirmed by a few security guards. Once you are in, there is no going out again. Unless you wanna lose your bed. It is in every sense of the word a prison. All kept locked up, under surveilance, and “safe.” Locked away from the world. Hidden! The shame! There are cameras everywhere. Walk in, and you will see a bit of an Orwellian future. Where Big Brother is filming you while jacking off in your bed.
One of the night guards takes your luggage up to a storage room. Only they are allowed up there. I guess poverty makes everyone potential thieves. And then a locker for personal effects for usage during the night and day. My small bag of toilet effects were checked – for “contrabands”.
There is a sign on the wall in the hallway. «Please keep all your valoueable in your assigned locker! Thieves may be about!”
The rooms have the odors of human waste. Sweat, booze, manic desperation, hidden depression, wild talk, cigarettes and marijuana.
These people are not even hobos. These are human beings that the Welfare Queen would put in the “work houses” for committing the crime of being poor. According to the welfed establishement “leeches on society. Ahh! That sacred word! Society! These are the people that the Welfare Queen have stolen from for hundreds of years.
A society that seems to afford giant bailouts of criminal bankers screwing the economy, while taking tax money to give to themselves as bonuses. A society that can afford spending millions to recieve the biggest welfare queen in UK and Ireland put together. We can afford wars all over the world. Yet we cannot afford taking proper care of the ones living in the gutter. Not without treating them like criminals, or big kids. In many ways, they are big kids. Being watched every step, so they won’t step out of line. We can afford to keep people down! But cannot afford to keep people safe from poverty or the circumstances.
The staff is doing their best. And they all have good hearts. Taking care of people whom are too weak to take care of themselves. People whom survive in ways that would make a yuppie upchuck in fear and loating
So until tomorrow, I will be one of them. An inmate. Someone whom have to abide by strict rules. No booze. No weed. But maybe a meal in the moring. Some white bread, cereal, and the cheapest tea from Dunnes Stores or Spar or Tesco. Food that will keep people skinny. Food that is nothing but empty calories. Food that will keep you dumbed and down. Without the energy to even think about anything else but to survive the next day.
Meet the inmates!
An all skinny lad. Losing hair, teeth, and soon consience. He’s wearing the typical hooded sweater. Maybe he’s got some relief from weed, or maybe something else. Next to him, an old drunk is deep asleep. All dressed up in camo clothes. An older man all dressed in black. Quiet. Maybe he’s thinking about something. Trying to get things off his mind by consentrating on what’s on the telly. images of an imaginary world. Hell! Having a home of their own is an imaginary world for many of them.
Earlier, younger people were busy looking for something dropped on the floor. I can imagine what. Joints are being rolled, and tried to be kept hidden from the camera in the corner. Tomorrow, some of them will be out again on the streets. At least the joints being smoked won’t kill them. Something else will.
Goddamn! I forgot to buy cigarettes!
I’ve just had my last smoke of a rolled up herb. Thinking I could sit down, and relax watching something soothing. In comes some punk kids, I call them kids. And still full blown criminals. Practically skinheads, tattoos, sneakers and track suits. In a different uniform, like a zebra striped, you’d see a hardened capo from Buchenwald.
Tough in their faces. Almost abusive. Wonder what made them that way. These dogs either bite, or just bark a lot. Challenging. What a contrast! At the back packers, there was courtesy. Politness. Down here, they bark at you.
Keep asking me how much my weapon cost. I call my laptop my weapon. And the words I put in my ammo.
“What are you looking at” the “toughest” bit on the block asked me. He was going over to the window to smoke a joint. I just saw the punk take something out of the pocket of the sleeping wino. Laughing and joking at his expence. Right! I guess it’s the pecking order even here!
One were making fake “karate” kicks towards the poor bastards head while he was snoring. And then he came over as to say “you didn’t see nothing!”
Snatching my six-pence, prouncing around. Again showing off his “karate” skills.
“Hah! Funny!” I smirked at him. He could be the Jackie Chan of bums! I don’t know if he ralize that he is in the same situation as the old wino. That we all are in the same boat. I’m just the new “kid” in town. I have no say here.
And when I look at this oldie with the cammo, I see the future for the pick pocket. If he lives that long. I wonder if I will survive the night. This is not the haven of Kinlay! This is a dog eat dog world. Just as Wall Street and politics. Just as inhumane. But in a much smaller scale.
And they seem fascinated by my laptop. I’m glad receptionist have assigned me a locker. I will take nothing of value up to the room tonight. I think I have changed my mind about what I think of security camera in every room. This is a different world. A different reality. Something uglier…. I fucking hate it here!
I survived the night. The room was filled with the same jackalls and pick pockets. And their «humor» was of the anal character. Like any other pimple would have. They kept fretting me about things. I brushed them off. Why? You don’t feel like sharing your life story with punks whom need a hearing aide. The splif was sharedc though. For the first time, a joint of hashish made med sleepy. And soon I was drifting off. So was the rest of them. It’s what I say, people with clear ADHD symptoms like these had, with the next score on their mind for pills and other modern chemistry should be stuffed their gills with weed.
I’m sitting at a coffeeshop just around the corner now. I think I got what I needed. No more shelters for this traveller. So I think I will settle into the back packers the next door. At least there would be people I have more in common with there. 10 Euros a night for not having to worry about being robbed blind is worth it.
And I recommend for any politician and power broker and banker to test a shelter once in a while. It wil boraden their horizon. The inmates of the shelterss have their own horizon. And seems to be stuck in their own bubble of reality. So does the power brokers.
When I got back to pick up my luggage, I had a little chat with one of the employees in the reception. The only thing they could do, was to keep things safe. Many of the people whom are in there, are not well. In many ways, toking up a splif helps relief a hopeless situation. And there needed a paradigme shift all over. Yet the politicians would not listen. They would not change a thing unless they would gain from it personally. Their first priority is themselves, and their sugerdaddies, not to solve problems; Not to actually practice democracy. But to keep things in status quo….